Posts Tagged ‘Community’

Mobilizing VET – Towards Paperless Assessment

December 16, 2010

Vocational Graduate Certificate in Master Trade Applications (Sustainability projects)

Six students met at Acacia Ridge today to present and critique project briefs assisted by Vikki, Peter and Rob. For me, it was a most useful exercise in clarifying my project, as well as gaining insight into how I might plan and evaluate my progress. I was able to compare my project with other students’ ideas which further assisted me to make connections and contrast my methods of research.

My project so far…

Title

Mobilizing VET – Towards Paperless Assessment

Problem

Current assessment practice at SkillsTech Australia relies heavily on assessors visiting workplaces, and apprentices attending TAFE on-campus. Assessor vehicle trips to site are excessive, as are apprentice hours spent in TAFE classrooms and workshops. Students are frustrated at repeating practical tasks (normally carried out at work) in the TAFE workshop, and assessors waste time visiting distant work sites where apprentices are carrying out repetitive tasks using a narrow range of skills. Students face either a delay in getting to TAFE due to heavy bookings, or long periods between visits due to limited assessor availability.

Methodology

Development of an institute-wide process whereby a transformation of the current paper-based assessment practice into a type of paperless assessment model takes place by students recording their activities on video, uploading the video files into a secure storage system, and then sharing the video files with an assessor. File sharing is followed by “competency conversations” in which the assessor engages the student and directs further video evidence gathering, until sufficient material is gathered for judgement to be made about the student’s level of competence. The video recording is carried out by the student under supervision in the workplace, presenting validity in an authentic workplace setting. Ideally, the workplace supervisor is qualified in Cert IV Training and Assessment.

Triple Bottom Line (Environment, Economy, Social)

The three TBL aspects of sustainability are addressed in this project:

Environment

Unnecessary vehicle use is reduced due to efficiencies in communications between assessor and student.

Economy

Assessor time is efficiently managed; Student time is efficiently managed

Social

Student engagement in practical tasks is increased; Student satisfaction in the course is heightened; Student outcomes are strengthened

Current knowledge

  • The Mediasite server is used to store and stream Videolinq presentations for teaching and professional development – it is limited to teaching resources
  • The Web server at SkillsTech Australia (Acacia Ridge) has been identified as having sufficient space to host video files – there is insufficient management to guarantee security and data organisation
  • BlueDog Training provides onsite and online training for construction apprentices – there is no provision for video assessment

This project addresses elements of the SkillsTech Australia Strategic Plan 2008-11:

  • Leadership and positioning
  • Products and services
  • Our people
  • Our business systems
  • Our clients
  • Environmental sustainability

Outcomes

Using rich digital media to asses and train apprentices and RPOL candidates in a user owned and operated secure portfolio – engaging students and assessing their competency in a supervised, authentic work environment.

Comments and questions

  • TAFE attendance builds social skills- What is the impact of denying access to face-to-face training for students?
  • Recording and manipulation of digital media requires extant skills
  • The paper based system works – why change it?
  • Cost savings must be quantified
  • What is the likelihood of threats from more agile organizations who are likely to easily adapt to using this system for their own business activities?

SWOT analysis

S: Ease of use
W: Some training required
O: Scalability
T: Other similar projects in more agile organizations; Resistance to change

Stakeholders

  • SkillsTech SET (Directors)
  • Streamfolio portfolio product developers
  • STA Electrotechnology team
  • STA Skills Recognition team
  • STA workplace assessors
  • STA teachers
  • STA Facilities vehicle management officer
  • The community

Opportunities

  • Learning about project management techniques
  • Learning about techniques used to evaluate a project:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Realistic
    • Time-bound

Yammer B2B Social Graph

February 26, 2010

Yammer logo

Communities in Yammer is a new feature available 1st March 2010 following a Yammer redesign, where users can create a community to connect with partners, advisors, customers, parent company, suppliers and consultants.

The first phase of Yammer released in September 2008 enabled secure internal microblogging communications within a company. Presently, a company network is only available to users who share a work email domain. Phase 2 extends these networks to multiple partners associated with the company (using any email address) called “B2B Social Graph.”

The Yammer interface will have a new look as a result of the redesign, with new tabs so that users can easily create a community, switches between networks, and link networks. The desktop client will also look slightly different, and an iPhone app has been introduced.

The advantages of communities created in Yammer’s B2B Social Graph are that content is readily available to users, and that the content is secure. Communities are still available within in the “Freemium” pricing model set up in phase 1, that is, access is free, and ‘silver’ and ‘gold’ levels buy added features.

To date, the use of Yammer has been attractive due to its ease of use. The introduction of communities has been designed so that users don’t need advanced technical skills to operate them.

A risk that would need to be controlled is enabling “e-discovery” that is, the court-ordered hand-over of electronic communications. A data back-up would only be possible with a premium account.

My experience of using Yammer in a Government Department since September 2008 confirms it as an easy-to-use social communication tool, handy for keeping in touch in with friends at other workplaces and helpful for making new acquaintances – I like to visualise my social/work structures. I am keen to investigate how Yammer’s B2B Social Graph can strengthen interactions with my client groups.

ANZAC Day 2008

April 26, 2008


ANZAC Day 2008

Originally uploaded by st0nemas0nry

Scotch Suit
An American friend once described my Scottish garb as a “Scotch Suit.” I’ve been wearing kilts since tagging along with the local pipes and drums when I was eleven years old way back in 1974. My piano teacher at the time suffered a serious brain injury in a motorcycle accident, so I continued my music studies by joining the Redcliffe Scottish Pipe Band. Belonging to a bagpipe band was not just a musical education opportunity, but also a study of Scottish culture in an Australian context.

Pipes and Drums
I’ve been a member of a few bands since then – (St Andrew’s, Tenterfield Highlanders, and Queensland Police) and played along with many more. During my twenty years with pipe bands performing, competing in band and solo competitions, and playing for Highland Dancing events, I enjoyed friendship with many people.

Ashgrove RSL ANZAC Day Commemoration committee
Twenty five years ago, I was asked by the Ashgrove RSL to “play the lament” at their ANZAC Day service. This meant providing bagpipe music during the wreath laying ceremony, between a hymn (Abide with Me) and the Last Post. This was a typical suburban Australian ANZAC Day commemoration, timed so that people could attend a dawn service at 04:28, return for the main local service at 08:00 and then travel to the city for the main march at 10:00.

Growth in attendance
The first Ashgrove ANZAC Day meetings that I attended were fairly low key: an army band leading the parade and providing the hymnal accompaniment, and army catafalque party honouring service people. I’ve watched community participation in the Ashgrove ANZAC Day service grow. I estimate that this year’s attendance was about 1000-1200 people.

Duties
My Ashgrove duties are simple: provide ten minutes’ music as the parade approaches, and play a lament during the wreath laying service. Initially, the funeral march “Flowers of the Forest” played once through was enough for the wreath laying ceremony. In successive years, I added a regimental slow march “Mist Covered Mountains” and an air “MacCrimmon’s Lament” as more people joined the wreath laying ceremony. I play my own version of Sheila Chandra’s “MacCrimmon’s Lament.”

61st Australian Infantry Battalion (AIF) the Queensland Cameron Highlanders
This year, I was asked to consider the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Queensland Cameron Highlanders. As it happens, my kilt is Cameron of Erracht tartan, an original Queensland Cameron Highlanders issue. I bought it from Scots College, Warwick when its band was upgrading equipment. At this time, it was still in its original condition, sewn into a roll. Guest of honour at Ashgrove this year was Lieutenant-Colonel Richard W Cameron DSO ED, who is 92 years of age. He addressed the meeting, seconded the meeting’s resolutions and, in the context of ANZAC sacrifice, spoke of his own extensive wartime experiences. Meeting with him after the service, he told me that many years ago, he had donated excess equipment to Scots College, Warwick including two original issue kilts that were sewn in rolls. I like to think that I am continuing his tradition whenever I put on my “Scotch Suit.”